When you see a deaf or hard of hearing person using a service dog, you may find that their furry companion attracts much attention – after all, who doesn’t love dogs?
However, it’s important to remember that these service dogs are unique and work hard to assist their handlers. So, when interacting with hearing dogs, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
Firstly, it’s crucial to pet or feed these dogs any treats solely with the explicit permission from their handlers. When their harnesses are on, these hearing dogs are “on the job”, and any distraction could be dangerous for both the owner and the dog.
Secondly, if you witness handlers giving a corrections to their guide dog, it’s best not to interfere. These dogs are highly trained, but mistakes do happen.
Thirdly, it’s important not to try and get the attention of guide dogs when they’re wearing their harness. They may be cute and cuddly, but it’s crucial not to distract them from their essential work.
Finally, you should always try to avoid grabbing a guide dog’s leash, collar, or harness. These dogs are trained to take commands from their handlers, and any interference could harm their work.
As a rule of thumb, always ask the handler for guidance if you need help interacting with a service animal.